- Sports & Recreation
- Mike Napoli
- New York Yankees
- Fenway Park
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By Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange July 22, 2013 2:20 AM
Mike Napoli is known as a streak hitter, and the reason why was evident at Fenway Park on Sunday night and into Monday morning.BOSTON --
The Red Sox first baseman hit a three-run homer in the third inning and then won the game with a solo shot with two outs in the 11th, giving Boston a wild 8-7 victory over the New York Yankees. In between the homers, Napoli, another of the unlikely heroes carrying the Red Sox through this bounce-back season, struck out twice with two outs and two men on and then, in the eighth inning, hit into a double play with the bases loaded. Such is life with Napoli, who strikes out a lot but has driven in 62 runs, six more than he delivered with the Texas Rangers last season. "That's what great about this game; you always get another chance," he said. "I was glad I got the opportunity to go up there and make up for it." He said the situation and then the count had him swinging for something big. Napoli's 13th homer of the season (his second career walk-off shot) made a loser of reliever Adam Warren (1-1) and kept the Red Sox a game and a half ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. The teams open a four-game series at Fenway Park Monday night. "I guess that's a snapshot, somewhat, of his career path," manager John Farrell said of Napoli. "We know and certainly live with some swing and miss, but the ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark to all fields is present every time he steps into the batter's box." Napoli, whose three-run homer came off CC Sabathia, got a break on a close 2-2 pitch in the 11th, then fouled off the next delivery before drilling the game winner into the center field bleachers, ending the four-hour, 46-minute marathon. Pedro Beato (1-0) worked the 11th for the win. The winning run scored after umpire Mike Everitt blew a ruling at second base, calling Eduardo Nunez (three hits for the second straight game) out stealing, ending the top of the 11th. Replays showed the call was missed. Boston (60-40) became the first major league team to 60 wins after taking two of three games from New York (52-46). The battered Yankees, losers of four of their last five and 3-6 against Boston this season, fell back to seven games behind the Red Sox in fourth place. They lost Sunday night after rallying back from a 7-3 deficit. "We battled back and gave us an opportunity to win that game," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's a shame we had to lose in extra innings." David Robertson pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth. He got Napoli, 7-for-12 with two homers and 20 RBIs with the bases loaded this season, to ground into a double play. Since 2011, hitters are 1-for-23 against the man they call "Houdini" with the bases loaded. Jonny Gomes (No. 8) also homered for Boston. Sabathia, pitching on his 33rd birthday, was dreadful. He was shelled for seven runs on nine hits in five-plus innings. "I sucked. I have no excuses," he said. "I sucked. Not very good. It sucks. Embarrassing. I have to try and work through it. I have to figure something out to try and help my team -- not hurt them." Sabathia, whose ERA is 4.37 (the latest in a season he's been over 4.00 since 2005), has allowed 15 runs on 17 hits in just nine innings over his last two starts. "He's got to straighten it out. That's the bottom line," Girardi said. "It's kind of strange. He's been so good for so long. You see him struggle a little bit, it's kind of strange. It's not something we're used to seeing." Ryan Dempster, 0-5 lifetime against the Yankees, overcame a rocky start (much of it fueled by his own throwing error) and pitched into the sixth inning. He left with the lead, but more bad defense helped New York rally. The Yankees failed to hit a home run in the series, the first time they played at least a three-game series at Fenway Park without a homer since 1995. Brett Gardner had three hits and two walks and became the first Yankees center fielder to reach base five times in a Fenway Park game since Mickey Mantle in 1954. NOTES: 3B Alex Rodriguez, slated to make his 2013 debut for the Yankees in Texas on Monday night, has a Grade 1 left quadriceps strain. He returned to Tampa, likely out at least another week. "I am extremely disappointed with the results of the MRI (taken in New York) and hoping to be back as soon as possible and continue with my goal of coming back and helping the Yankees win a championship," he said in a statement. A report surfaced that A-Rod is heading to a hip specialist for a second opinion. ... Red Sox RHP Andrew Bailey will have right labrum surgery in New York on Wednesday and is out for at least the rest of this season. ... Boston RHP Clay Buchholz will see famed surgeon James Andrews on Monday for, in the words of Farrell, "peace of mind." Buchholz (right shoulder bursitis) played catch on flat ground again Sunday. He only experiences discomfort when he throws off a mound. ... Red Sox LHP Jon Lester, given extra rest after the break, threw 35 pitches in the bullpen Sunday and will start Tuesday night, after rookie RHP Brandon Workman faces Tampa Bay All-Star LHP Matt Moore in the opener of a series Monday night. ... RHP Mariano Rivera, who got a standing ovation from the Boston crowd as he entered Saturday's game, also got one at a local restaurant Saturday night, calling that one "overwhelming." ... Yankee RHP Ivan Nova faces Texas RHP Yu Darvish in Texas on Monday night.